Chicago Beaches Are Open!

Finally!  The Chicago air is warming and summer is upon us.  Chicago summers are what make our winters bearable.  No matter which Planned Property Management building you live in, the beach is not far away.  Chicago’s 2015 beach season runs from Friday, May 22, to Monday, September 7.  Official hours are 11 AM to 7 PM when lifeguards are on duty, though few seem to live by those hours.  The water is cold early in the season.

Montrose Beach and Wilson Dog Beach - This is Chicago's largest beach, with one of only two dog beaches in Chicago which is situated at the north end of the beach (the other is at the north end of Foster Avenue Beach).   Lots and lots of free parking is available, as long as there is not an event scheduled.  Montrose is one of the few beaches you can launch a kayak, canoe, stand–up paddleboard, or other non-motorized boats from.  The beach has recently been remodeled with a 3,000-square-foot deck and a full service restaurant, The Dock at Montrose Beach.  The dog beach is spacious and mostly civilized. 

North Avenue Beach - This beach is considered Chicago's premier beach and definitely its most popular. North Avenue Beach runs from Fullerton Avenue from the north to North Avenue on the north.  The beach house resembles an ocean liner and contains bike and sports equipment rentals, a bar and restaurant (Castaways), a concession stand, a lifeguard station, and restrooms. North Ave. Beach is popular for beach volleyball, is right on the lakefront path, and is the center stage for the Chicago Air & Water Show.  Driving to North Avenue beach is tough, as there is little parking. 

Oak Street Beach - This beach is about a mile and a half long, and is home to the largest area of deep-water swimming in the city.  Due to its proximity to downtown, Oak Street Beach once was Chicago’s showcase beach. It is also home to Chicago's only chess pavilion and an outdoor restaurant called the Oak Street Beachstro. It has limited volleyball, and can be less crowded than North Avenue Beach.  There is a large, sandy beach and a cement path area where you can jump into the lake.  Great area for rollerblading, skateboarding, or just going to the beach without bringing home the sand.

Olive Park Beach - This spot is also known as Ohio Street Beach and is located in Streeterville. It is oriented in a fashion so that it faces north instead of east like all the other beaches. This beach has a slower pace and is ideal for families or as a stopping point on the way to the nearby Navy Pier.  Olive Park Beach is the launching point for open water swimming. You can swim about a half mile to the Oak Street curve without being more that a few feet from the seawall and shallow water.

There are rules to follow when going to the beach, though it seems few follow them strictly.  Follow lifeguards’ instructions - they are there to keep you safe!

· Only Coast Guard approved flotation devices are permitted. 

· No smoking.

· No alcohol.

· No glass containers - broken glass in the sand can cause serious injuries.  This is a pet peeve of mine.

· Dogs are not allowed on the beach except in designated dog friendly areas at Foster Beach and Montrose Beach.

· Do not feed birds or wildlife.  Seagulls and geese are one of the largest sources of the bacteria that cause swim advisories.  Feeding gulls attracts them to the beach.

· Dispose of trash and recycling in appropriate containers. Trash attracts gulls to the beach, which can cause swim advisories.

· Grill in designated areas only and dispose of coals in red barrels.  Please do not dump coals next to trees, where they can damage tree roots.

· Keep accessible beach walks clear. No bicycling, skateboarding or rollerblading is permitted in these areas.

· Surfing, windsurfing and kite-boarding are only allowed in designated areas.

 Summer in Chicago is fun and PPM’s buildings put you right in the middle of fun in every direction.